It’s well known that before Andy Warhol became the most famous artist in New York—if not the world—he worked for several years as a commercial illustrator. For instance, he did a bunch of album covers in the mid- to late 1950s, a couple of which are quite familiar to anyone who follows jazz—even if they’re not familiar “as Warhol covers.”
Another of his gigs lasted about four years, that being occasional illustrations for children’s stories in the “Best In Children’s Books” series published by Nelson Doubleday. He illustrated six stories between 1957 and 1960—since there were 33 volumes in the series at a minimum, we can be sure that the series was pretty popular. Every volume had roughly ten stories in it, and each story featured art by a different illustrator. So Warhol’s output in this series was a tiny fraction of the art contained therein. One of the other artists who did illustrations in the same series was Richard Scarry.
The cover of vol. 27 (not by Warhol)
It’s so funny to think of the mind behind “Race Riot” (1963), “Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times” (1963), and “Sixteen Jackies” (1964) also illustrating “Card Games Are Fun,” “Magic Porridge Pot,” and “Funny Words and Riddles” just a few years earlier. (Actually, here’s a good book focusing on Warhol’s violent works from the 1962-1964 period.)
There are plenty of pictures of these drawings on the Internet, but alas, many of them come from Etsy and eBay listings, so the images aren’t always so great.
In 1983 Warhol actually did put out a children’s book of his own that was more in keeping with his well-known style, but that’s another subject.
“Funny Words and Riddles” by Alice Salaff, vol. 5 (1957):
“Homemade Orchestra” by Joseph Leeming, vol. 7 (1958):
“Little Red Hen,” vol. 15 (1958):
“Magic Porridge Pot,” vol. 21 (1959):
“Card Games Are Fun” by Alfred Sheinwold, vol. 27 (1959):
“Sophocles the Hyena” by Jim Moran, vol. 33 (1960):